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Mountain Park Life :: Forums :: City Issues
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Lake Litigation Expenses - now at $2.4 million!

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jet
Tue Nov 30 2010, 05:13AM
Registered Member #444
Joined: Thu Nov 18 2010, 09:57AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 9
Hi Sam, thanks for the comments. I'm in agreement w/much of what you say, and it seems like you've done alot of thinking on this whole unfortunate mess.

As to the free advice, I am of the opposite view for the most part, sort of suspicious of why someone is wanting to advise me for nothing-i.e.: what's behind it, what's he/she selling/or motive/if they have an agenda behind their rhetoric and are really just trying to convince me of something else masked behind their 'do-gooderism' advice. As for George's facts-I have no opinion as I never really paid that much attention and also did not know where the info was coming from and for myself would want to look at the original source. Still, for many, I'm sure he provided an important source and role for those that know him and don't mind their info coming second or third handed.

Glad you too saw original merit in the lawsuit and I think many out here did, many witnessed the damage firsthand and for myself I saw the destruction and some neighbor's photos of extreme problems. There's no way in my thinking that with all that development starting around the same time, surrounding the city and with construction going on for so long, that there wasn't some problems. I just saw Lake Garrett during the 1st summer out here-05, turn into a bright orange red mess. My wife and I had been looking at Mt. Pk for years and watched the lakes over time-they were always a greenish brownish healthy looking waters. But that summer it all changed after a bunch of post hurricane storms that must have washed all the damage down the hills and into the wetlands and lakes. It was and is a bitter pill to swallow to think that we lost so badly.

I have wondered who and why came up with that fee arrangement with our lawyers as well Sam. That it wasn't either corrected or restructured with the successions of different councils made me think they felt it best to keep it the same for reasons unknown. I personally didn't think it prudent, but obviously I wasn't on council and didn't have the info they did. But it was sort of like handing them a blank check.......however I disagree with you a bit that there was nothing for Mr. Shelton to lose with this arrangement as I believe his reputation as an environmental lawyer would suffer w/this loss. If I remember right, early in the case, he left the original firm and went to another and was starting this firm's newly established environmental section-I think this is right. So with this, I would think he'd need a big win. I saw him speak twice and he didn't strike me as a money grubbing lawyer. He seemed soft spoken and knowledgable-- I hoped, and thought he knew alot about the nuances of environmental law. But I don't think they pulled it off- well obviously-don't know if it was his style or his depth of knowledge or experience with insurance lawyers or as a trial lawyer, but sadly I think they failed us. Maybe there wasn't enough expert research and testimony. Who was monitoring the lawyers for the city, letting council know where maybe the lawyers were weak or ill prepared? These are some of the questions I would like answers to. Like who was in charge of overseeing the whole deal? This concerns me and would influence my vote next election, b/c for me it would indicate management and leadership skills. I wasn't able to attend the trial, did you? Wanted to but work prevented me from going.

I agree with you about the appeal-it would be sort of a slap in the face imo for these lawyers to ask us for another dime in light of what happened. I would think that if an appeal was even being considered, a full critique and assessment of what went wrong in the trial would be done before considering any of it, much less these lawyers taking it back up again. I have heard from some that attended the trial occasionally. One thing I've heard 3 times is that it seemed our side had very little on Harrington Estate. They said there was hardly any photos, evidence or witnesses on them. If true, this is disturbing to say the least. Wasn't our consultant reporting back to the council on what the lawyers were doing or what evidence the lawyers had on these developers? Makes me wonder about the chain of communications. Some of what I've said before I still wonder about-like how was our city attorney advising council when he's not in environmental law himself. How was our consultant from the city chosen to be the go between person? With our city attorney I would want to know if so many motions were being filed how was he addressing this? The defense looked like they were using filing motions as a strategy, so what to do? Like was he okay to keep the lawsuit going til we were totally bankrupt or did he give advice as to mediation or settling when possible? Just alot of questions I think would be nice and actually owed to us now after years and years of dead silence. I truly hope the council or mayor would extend this to us in a meeting or in a newsletter of some sort. To hold 'power' and make critical decisions with our monies for years and not give an accounting would-in my view-be considered sort of an abuse of power. That being said, I think the council are good folks, good neighbors and hopefully have nothing to hide. I think answers to some of these questions would be good to assess how our city attorney is representing us as well. Don't mean to be controversial, but it is our money. Or was our monies.

I totally agree with your last paragraph Sam. The jury was being tasked with what seemed to be complex and detailed evidence-hard for any layperson to comprehend all the issues in the clean water act, the evidence, and the logistics of the terrian around our town, and as you said, the time frame with the problems of volume. It sounds like they didn't maybe have the evidence needed and hearing this from you as well as some other neighbors, and a friend who's a lawyer, makes me think there are lots of us feeling this way about the way our case was handled-or not handled.

I try not to get into blaming, even as I want to at times esp. post trial, post fact. Philosophically speaking, blaming others is pointless, goes nowhere, we all are at fault about something somewhere anyway, but it leads to hurt or divide. And on another level blaming 'post fact' turns into whining imo. We had a council making our decisions right or wrong, they did not appear to be influenced by other's opinions, so we had/have no choice but to recognize this. Some may use their votes in the next election to make a statement. But it also seems there's not a whole lot of folks eager to run. It seems like a thankless job really. Enjoying your take on this Sam, so thanks.
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Sam
Wed Dec 01 2010, 12:48AM
Registered Member #424
Joined: Fri Aug 06 2010, 09:06PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 18
I can only answer you the best that I can but I'm glad to tell you what I think in respect that you asked and I'm the same way but I regret not being able to be more constructive and can only meander and not get it in a nut shell but the City Council problem is involved with other problems.

An unachievable goal leads to frustration, so why attempt to satisfy the public anywhere? The public thinks that the politicians can't do anything right but it is closer to the council members here. They can't avoid taking comments personal.

Right at the start the council member has an unachievable goal, if they want to satisfy the majority of residents. They get on it and start realizing they didn't know what it would be like and come to a negative realization and it's ruined right there.
Then what about the members that feel that there IQ increased by being on it, become protective of their territory and won't listen to anyone?
Our system works fine as long as they deal with nice people but once they deal with a crook they get taken advantage of because a talented and experienced crook will sense all of this.

They learn a few things that they didn't know which makes them think that they know more than they do to the point that they don't realize how much they don't know and don't know enough to get professional assistance when they need it.
The problem here is the residents can attempt to influence them to such a degree because of the size and proximity and it only takes a few minority special interest activists to control our destiny.

There's two sides to being on the City Council one of having an unusual amount of authority that is not normal for most City Council members and one as an elected official which is normal but they don't have the fear of not being re-elected so the election system doesn't work here like it is but that could be resolved by better procedures to control the public here, I hate how that sounds but I'm the public too.

There's an adjustment period about having the authority which is at first getting carried away with it then using it justly later, speaking in terms of averages of people so there are plenty of exceptions that stay carried away. I did this once myself and regret my behavior even though I adjusted quickly and stopped my reign of terror, trying to give some credentials.

It's a shame and this is such a pretty place. There's the city council and there's the public they represent. I'm talking the small portion of the public that turns their neighbors in for code violations for no beneficial benefits to them and the ones that are disrespectful to city employees that work for the city council or mayor. What they have to listen to. All of this filters to the elected officials so they get the negativity from two directions. This small portion of the public is reflective on the total public.

I have a few ideas for a start to attempt to isolate them.
1) Reduce the city councils authority and just make it representational like it is supposed to be so they won't get on power trips. I think the permitting and inspection changes recently was a start.
2)Stop giving them responsibilities that they have no experience to do that takes a professional.
No one here had ever handled a lake litigation before so we needed the assistance from someone that had or at least litigation experience on our side and it would have shown a profit to hire them but I feel we could have gotten a volunteer with experience for free.
3) If a resident wants to contact a council member it should be through city hall and the resident should state what hours they can be contacted back between 8:00 and 5:00 and to never to call them at home. If a resident calls them at home, there should be a financial fee for this.
4) It may work better here if the public did not speak at all to the council members at all on city matters. If a resident is sincere, they should have no problem putting it in writing to a council member or stand up at the City Coucil meeting. There's just too much contact here and the contacts are so varied that I don't see how they can think rationally.
5) If there was a green space purchase and giving another entity a legal right to it then that type of authority could get out of control so it must be addressed.
6) A procedure about when the city staff is treated disrespectfully where they can turn that problem over to someone else.

To clarify, I usually take a professionals opinion as long as it is unbiased and not seeking financial gain and both are easy to sense.
Some of the advice posted here by professionals appeared sound to me whether they had ulterior motives or not.

What troubles me is that there is insufficient thought what to do about the silt that is presently entering the lakes yet wanting to dredge it and let it fill up again. That lake is too big to dredge it all the time so it may be smaller lakes, a marsh, no lakes and a river and send the silt downstream. Either stop the silt or be flexible in our thinking about the numerous alternatives.

I don't want to influence or have any authority but many don't understand the consequences of not having any experience so I will explain this.
Over twenty years ago if I saw lake dredging operations (just 2), got personally involved and interacted with the operation so I want to make it clear that I was upset about the lakes and learning about what to do. I'm one of those that have to give an active response.
At the same time they showed me what they were doing to stop it as well as some other projects just to maintain lakes and not dredge them.
What gave me the opportunity to be around all of this was that I was on the other side of it causing the erosion but it was by design and it could not be helped. Sometimes you have to do it and there is no choice, but I had to fix it back up "jam up" after I did it.
The worst erosion I did was when I had to clear seven miles along the bank of Peachtree Creek plus excavating numerous creek crossings by the design of the project causing significant erosion and then had to fix it back again more stable than it was before, I spent years along that creek, trying to give some credentials again to take me seriously. What does the most environmental damages is road run off because it contains petroleum by-products, I watched what the fish and snakes did and they ran from what ran off the streets but not from silt or even a sewer spill.

Then there's the contradiction of keeping the lakes while protecting the wetland, it can't be done. We don't need to protect a wetland, just call the Corps of Engineers at any sign of an infringement but unfortunately includes draining or dredging a wetland. I drained a designated wetland and got caught by them, ours isn't designated. To answer that one, I got pumps larger than cars and filled it back up again. I drained it because I needed dry ground but I also thought that I was doing a motel near it a favor, stopping the mosquitos and snakes.


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jet
Thu Dec 02 2010, 06:13AM
Registered Member #444
Joined: Thu Nov 18 2010, 09:57AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 9
Hey Sam, just to get back to you briefly, I want to respond to alot of what you've said here and have to say I agree with most of everything you've said. I'm having to do some unexpected business taking me in overextended directions. Just to let you know. Be back when work cools down. Thanks for the reply though, always nice to have a considerate dialogue with another city minded person.
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Sam
Sat Dec 04 2010, 04:27AM
Registered Member #424
Joined: Fri Aug 06 2010, 09:06PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 18
Jet, an interesting thing here is that some think that you should agree with every word that we say. Disagree with me and I’ll change my mind if convinced.
I don’t read here months at a time. I feel guilty for not leaving my Ebay feedback by now and I’ve received emails asking why (some of the Chinese appear very sensitive about this) but I also have received emails about closing the Jr. Varsity on La Vista Rd. .
You have to understand that everything is in perspective. Most disagreements are from one person having information or experience that the other person does not have.
I know that at times the mayor and council members are contacted at their homes excessively here, three calls at supper time is not unusual at times of controversy. What do we have to do to increase volunteers and to get someone to stay a little longer after they have had experience that could help us?
So we need procedures to control the inconsiderate and disrespectful minority at the expense of the opposite majority, understanding the original question as to why being on the city council is unrewarding.


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jet
Sat Dec 04 2010, 10:19PM
Registered Member #444
Joined: Thu Nov 18 2010, 09:57AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 9
Sam, have no idea what you mean when you say "...interesting thing here is that some think you should agree with every word that we say. Okay my ?'s: who's the "some" that think agreement is needed. Who's the "we"? This is important to me b/c it sounds like you fronting someone/something.
I would agree with you that our Council is overworked. Like all the rest of us it seems. May be that limits should be set on availability etc...I have seen this issue everywhere, as some make themselves overly available at the cost to their families and social lives. This seems to be up to the Council to introduce and enforce I think. Build it and the people will come/follow it. I don't feel a need to defend these Council people as they can do it for themselves. About volunteers to assist them? First I would ask why in the world did they reduce the Council from 7 to their number now? Didn't they in fact bring some of this on themselves? What happened to the City Mgr idea? I thought the Council was to be reduced if we had the additional help of a City Mgr.

I am definitely not for Mtn Pk making more "procedures" or laws to "control the inconsiderate and disrespectful minority". Don't know who's the "inconsiderate" buffoons vs. the so thought rational, reasonal "majority" you imply. To me, this invites MORE division, as in those who are subjectively judged to be difficult. Dangerous, dangerous territory my friend. Thought police type stuff in my way of seeing it.

All Councils are ultimately "unrewarding" unless you happen to be very lucky and have a very good run of positive attention and hard work that actually pays off or one has alot of power, money and control and behaves as a sort of benelvolant/benign dictator and get alot done while letting the constituents think they did it. There are other scenarios but don't have time to list them. People get into politics for all sorts of reasons, mostly the ego, a few for thinking they can assist as a call to duty for their neighbors. But mostly folks do it for themselves I think. They want it, they get it and this means they must live with the myriad types they end up representing. That they cannot control their time and energy in so doing doesn't bother me nor interest me particularly.

The real issue in my mind out here is are we really up to running a City. Not speaking of personalities here either, just the hard cold facts. The loss of this lawsuit magnifies this reality to me. No one, not even the City Attorney imho, seemed to have a grip on the enormous challenges it presented, required to keep going, etc. I'm not speaking of this particular council vs any others, nor individuals. But just my view that we are over our heads for the most part in meeting the needs a city requires----and Deserves! It is getting to be absurd really. This is why I don't fault our Council for supporting our lawsuit b/c on the surface it would appear that they did have the City's best interests in mind. However did they have the expertise to manage it? In hindsight no. I don't think anyone had these thoughts of being over the heads initially. I think we followed Martin Shelton's word to the exclusion of getting outside help, even beyond our City Attorneys. This proved to be a fatal flaw, the hows and whys he got paid, and then he got to run the entire deal carte blanche. I think Shelton was not acting nefariously, but I now believe the man was completely and entirely over his head. I wonder now why the partners at his firm were not keeping a close eye on him as the was his first case at this firm. So I think we, the citizens and our lakes, are the sad victims. We are left in debt and have prematurely aged lakes. Sad, b/c we were the initial innocent victims and now we're been doubly, triply victimized by those in power. By those we trusted and relied on, and this too, tells me we have no further business attempting to try to be a city. Think we've lost our rights to govern well and efficiently. Plus if we merge into say Roswell, we stop having these ridiculous divisions of neighbors being the ones with control and power, and the possibilities of game playing and preferential treatments that has dogged this city for at least 40 years. Then there is Mr. Mendon's advice he so regularly broadcasted and his assistance to me doesn't count as he has no official standing to do so. Of course as a citizen he can and did and will most likely say what he wants and has that right, but I don't think he should have, and he wasn't thankfully, taken seriously by those in power. These of course are just my opinions for what it's worth.

Over the last week, since I've posted, I have heard so much information and probably innuendo that my head is still spinning. Many have come out of the woodwork to 'educate' me I guess. I had no idea, just no idea.
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Sam
Sun Dec 05 2010, 01:20AM
Registered Member #424
Joined: Fri Aug 06 2010, 09:06PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 18
Jet, others have said what you posted before agreeing with what you say about the running of the city. With our tax base I doubt if Roswell would accept the liability for the maintenance and servicing for Mountain Park?

There is an evolution of problems with the city council. They could not agree on anything and nothing got done so to decrease it’s size was an attempt to correct that. When there were more members some were there just to get the votes to one side or the other and it was manipulated.

As I explain below, if not a city manager, at least someone with prior experience should be managing the city.

What I know about is the running of a city, not politics but the internals of running it. I never discuss this with neighbors and they wouldn’t understand.

Streets - How many feet of streets has that council member built, I say built because there’s a great deal of construction before you pave regarding compaction. If a street is re-paved how is it inspected and what problems do you look for before payment?

Utilities- how many feet of pipe has that council person laid and tested.

Lakes - how many lakes has that council person built and maintained.

BZP-I know he ‘s an experienced builder but I don’t know much BZP but at least I know that he can read blue prints and a few in the past couldn’t.

Lake litigation - the persons that handled Martin Shelton had never been in that situation before yet they were given the authority to do it with a blank check. Did they ask for advice, take advice or did they not know that they needed advice?

Then the council members are on other committees.

This isn’t how you do it.

The above is common sense yet it stays this way. I see the mistakes when they happen yet most don’t know that they exist. We have to pay to correct these mistakes.

I’m not fronting, and am detached and unbiased on purpose and never discuss it with anyone but I see how it appeared that way so it was a fair question. I must state the same to you as you’re the one talking to all of the residents and not me.

If we had taken George Mendon’s advice, we’d have $900,000.00 instead of $47,000.00. What issues do you have with his advice? He was one of the ones posting not to follow Martin Shelton’s words before the fact and you’re speaking after the fact and were hoping to win like everyone else.

The some is that many on the city council in the past appeared to feel that if the “we” didn’t agree with them then we were unsupportive and would dismiss anything said as that and with no further consideration.

My original intent was to address only the subject as to why it is unrewarding to be on the city council that you asked.
We need a city council and representation but they shouldn’t be running the operation because they know nothing about it. What I stated was based on a few experiences in the past but I’ve never been involved here, just around it a bit.

Occasionally, someone serves two terms on the city council but rarely more, says there’s a problem. By the time they learn a little, they’re gone but they have no business learning anyway and should know about what they’re doing. The subject here is why no one stays longer. I think part of it is that there’s an unusual amount of emotion here and a saturation level as to how much they can listen to?
I’ve decided some separation would be good for council members in their personal lives and the need for operating procedures.



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Sam
Sun Dec 05 2010, 04:34AM
Registered Member #424
Joined: Fri Aug 06 2010, 09:06PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 18
"Many have come out of the woodwork to 'educate' me I guess. I had no idea, just no idea."

Who do you think you are? I won't bother to educate you.

"I had no idea, just no idea."
"I had no idea, just no idea."
"I had no idea, just no idea."
"I had no idea, just no idea."
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jet
Mon Dec 06 2010, 06:30AM
Registered Member #444
Joined: Thu Nov 18 2010, 09:57AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 9
Lighten up Buddy, no one's asked for your advice. I assure you I do just fine. LOL.

It just becomes clearer and clearer why there are only 4 or 5 posting here with various names. I'll stick to my "woodwork" neighbors some of whom came out after they saw I'd posted to want to share some of their views on what goes down out here, no more, no less but certainly no need for your blood pressure to spike over this Pal relax. Now you can go back to your happy place.....Happy Holidays to you Sam.
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Sam
Thu Dec 09 2010, 03:58AM
Registered Member #424
Joined: Fri Aug 06 2010, 09:06PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 18
I'm light and logical my buddy pal
I thought that I was doing you a favor. You appeared to be living a phantasy, Don Jet, and everyone should kiss your ring.

I want a happy holiday for you and me but the type of person that you appear to be, you don't deserve it.

You attempted to make a fool of me and anyone that believed you, of which I didn't.

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Grandma's Kid
Sat Dec 11 2010, 04:08PM
Registered Member #59
Joined: Wed Aug 03 2005, 02:02AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 118
If our lawyer and city council believes there is grounds for an appeal then we should appeal. They have my full support.

Grandma's Kid
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